Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/18/14 at 05:20 PM ET
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
The Sharks have told Antti Niemi that he will have to compete for the net with Alex Stalock. Niemi has one year left on his contract; Stalock just signed a two-year extension. They told Boyle that they wanted to make room for younger defensemen, and they have told Brad Stuart something similar. Stuart has a limited no-trade clause and one year left on his contract. Vlasic is already an elite player. Brent Burns is moving from the wing back to the blue line, as was the plan. The Sharks think highly of Justin Braun, Jason Demers and Matt Irwin, and then there is Mirco Mueller, the 19-year-old prospect the Sharks drafted 18th overall last year.
Thornton and Marleau are trickier. They are still elite players as they approach their 35th birthdays. Thornton ranked second in assists last season with 65, three behind the leader, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. Both were in the top 16 in scoring. Marleau won a gold medal with Team Canada at the Sochi Olympics. But Thornton had two goals and three points in the seven-game series against the Kings – including zero points in the final four losses. Marleau had three goals and seven points – including zero points in the final three losses.
It should be noted that the Sharks chose to re-sign Thornton and Marleau six months ago, and Wilson said this at the time according to the San Jose Mercury News: “What I love about them is not only do they make some of the other players around them much better, but they’ve really allowed the growth of the Logan Coutures and the Marc-Edouard Vlasics and the Joe Pavelskis.” McLellan said this: “I think they’re just going to keep the same level at least and maybe get better.”
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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